February 5, 2019
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Danielle Dannenberg
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Unconscious Commitments

Goodbye to “Work Life” and “Personal Life.” This is “Life.”

Eight months after my first Conscious Leadership training at Camp, there is less separation between my “work life” and “personal life.” What gives?

I cried at the end of my first three-day Leadership Camp. At first, I wasn’t sure why.  Now I see I had a story that I couldn’t bring Camp back into my everyday, “normal” life.

Recently I realized Camp energized me in many ways:

  • Play! – Playing generated creativity and space for brainstorming. Plus, it was fun.
  • Candor – I opted to reveal my thoughts and feelings in real-time. I shared openly, honestly, and authentically. That was new and refreshing.
  • Being Heard – Camp taught us how to listen consciously. I felt heard by others.
  • Curiosity – My fellow Leadership Campers brought a mindset of curiosity and a desire to learn.
  • Space – Camp offered a dedicated block of time to focus on building my self-awareness and growing as a leader.  

My post-Camp tears were pointing to an unconscious belief that these highlights couldn’t exist in my regular “life.” I see now that I was unconsciously committed to the malaise I imagined would follow Camp.  I was actually committed to:

  • Seriousness - the opposite of play. I thought that if I wanted to be taken seriously as a professional, I needed to be stern and do really hard things.
  • Concealing - the opposite of candor. I thought that by concealing I would come across as more capable.
  • Unconscious listening - the opposite of being heard. My conversations often revolved around giving advice instead of truly listening.
  • Being right - the opposite of curiosity. In being right I felt secure. It was validating.
  • Scarcity - the opposite of having wide open time. As a startup founder, I have been trained to believe there is never enough time, money, or resources.

Eight months later, I am experiencing more play, candor, listening, curiosity, and spaciousness.

I get to practice the principles of Conscious Leadership with my colleagues at Leadership Camp and MergeLane.

My teammates ask questions like “what if?” and respond with a “yes, and...” Hiking meetings are common. We laugh a lot. Recently we started a meeting by sharing withholds. We incorporate check-ins at the beginning of our meetings to get present. We engage authentically.  

With my friends and partner, I incorporate Conscious Leadership vocabulary into casual conversations, and we are going to deepen our shared understanding at Couples Camp in March.

Today I feel less separation between my “work life” and “real life.” It’s all just “life.”

Conscious Leadership Exercise: Energy Audit

  • Look at your calendar for next week. What are five things about which you’re excited? What about those activities are you looking forward to?
  • Notice the blocks of time on your calendar that make your energy go down, consider who and what is involved. What patterns are creating friction in your life?
  • Often just noticing these patterns is enough to prompt us to say “yes” to more energizing activities and reduce friction in our lives (and on our calendars).
Danielle Dannenberg

An entrepreneur + community builder, Danielle is a Principal at MergeLane and leads growth at Camp.

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